The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 150 - Strange Leaf

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 150 - Strange Leaf

Wow! 150 designs! I about can't believe it myself, but we're still not quite halfway through this project.

Let's enjoy this beautiful with a weird combo design. This is a combo of Trailing Leaves and Lollipop Chain that goes together to form Strange Leaf.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Lately I've been reading (actually listening - it's an audiobook) to a great book called The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt.

I've been listening to this book as I've cleaned my studio and pieced a simple strip quilt for James. It's a very interesting read, even if the narrator's voice sounds a bit like Ben Stein.

What I'm finding interesting about this book is the idea that pleasure and happiness are not tied to the end result of a project, but during the creation of the project itself.

I find this to be so true with my quilting. By the time I finish a huge quilt, I hang it on the wall and feel really good about it for maybe an hour, but then the question always emerges "What next?"

I expect to feel elated, euphoric, and exceptionally happy for days, but instead I feel disappointed because the journey is over.

So from now on I'm making a conscious effort not to grind through projects just to get it done, but to instead take my time with each step of the process because chances are I'll get more happiness from the daily work piecing or quilting it than I will from the end result.

Here's to kicking back and enjoying the process more than the end result!

Now let's learn how to stitch Strange Leaf:

Inspiration - I thought of this design while flipping through my book of designs. Trailing Leaves and Lollipop chain were right next to one another and it seemed a cool mix of two interesting designs!

Difficulty Level - Intermediate. This is really a very simple design, but it can be tricky to stack the rows of leaf shapes on top of one another. Just take your time lining everything up and it will all go together perfectly.

Design Family - Edge to Edge. This design is worked from one edge of your quilting space to the other so it will work great in areas like your sashing or used as a big all-over design over your whole quilt.

Directional Texture - 2 directions. Really cool things start to happen when you stack this design in rows. It starts looking less like leaves and more like a cluster of plant cells under a microscope.

Suggestions for Use - This design reminds me a lot of the shapes Cathy Miller used in her quilt Through a Lens.

Maybe try using this design as a background filler for a very different, unique texture in a place you may not typically expect it!

Back of Strange Leaf
free motion quilting | Leah Day
Feel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.
Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day


  1. Today's design reminds me of the fiddle head ferns we find in nature!

    I too am more of a "process" person than and "end-result" person. I find it can be very counter-cultural, in some ways, to our "bottom-line, get-it-done, result-focused" culture. From baking cookies (I enjoy making them, but don't eat them!) to the way I interact with people, it's really been valuable to continue to train myself to be fully present in the moment, and to learn to notice and pay attention to the value of the present moment.

    Thanks for reminding all of us to value the "journey"!

  2. I love reading/listening to books in this arena. I'm a Psych major and I spent a lot of time studying something like this when writing papers for classes. It reminds me of my favorite Author/book on the topic. Have you ever heard the psychological theory behind "Flow"? If you get a second, check out this link from Wikipedia that gives a really quick briefing on it and other links if you're inclined to read more. I honestly think most of us are wired this way.

  3. Leah, I have been following along with your posts for quite awhile now and realized I have not so far left a comment or thanked you for doing this project. I love this "Strange Leaf" and in fact am working on a small quilt to donate to a woman's shelter -- this leaf will work well, I think on this lap quilt, so I am headed to my sewing room, right now to test it out and hopefully incorporate it in my project. THANKS so very MUCH!


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